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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2005 Feb;16(2 Pt 1):205-13.

Treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma with intrahepatic yttrium 90 microspheres: factors associated with liver toxicities.

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DataMedix Corporation, Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, USA.



Intraarterial injection of yttrium 90 microspheres (TheraSpheres) is used in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This article presents an analysis of the incidence of liver toxicities (liver-related events) and pretreatment factors associated with liver toxicities after TheraSphere treatment.


Eighty-eight TheraSphere-treated patients with low 90-day mortality risk were selected for analysis, with liver toxicities coded with use of standard oncology criteria. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were applied to estimate the incidence of liver toxicities and to evaluate the influence of liver radiation dose and various pretreatment factors on the risk of their occurrence.


Sixty-eight liver toxicities occurred in 37 of the 88 patients (42%). Thirty-two patients (36%) experienced 50 liver toxicities after the first treatment and nine of 23 patients (39%) who received a second treatment experienced 18 liver toxicities. Pretreatment total bilirubin and liver radiation dose were found to be associated with the risk of at least one liver toxicity and with the time to first occurrence of a liver toxicity after first treatment. Pretreatment total bilirubin also was associated with liver toxicities after the second treatment. Most of the toxicities resolved; however, those that did not resolve were attributed to tumor progression or advancing cirrhosis.


The risk of liver toxicities in patients with unresectable HCC treated with TheraSpheres increases with increasing pretreatment total bilirubin level and liver radiation dose to a maximum of 150 Gy for a single administration. The toxicities attributed to treatment resolved over time, and none of the patients studied had confirmed radiation-induced liver disease. Consequently, doses as high as 150 Gy on a single administration and as high as 268 Gy on repeated administrations were well tolerated.

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